Business Challenge Story
To better enable synergies between its 14 gifting brands and create greater business agility, 1-800-FLOWERS.com needed to replace its siloed e-commerce systems with a unified technology platform.
1-800-FLOWERS partnered with IBM MQ to simplify e-commerce transactions between its brands. The company piloted their new approach with two of these brands. With the knowledge gained from this successful rollout, 1-800-FLOWERS then transitioned most of its other remaining brands to MQ the following year.
Reducesmaintenance and development costs
Enablesrapid creation and deployment of retail websites
Facilitatescross-selling between brands
Business Challenge Story
A Need for a Single System
From the beginning, 1-800-FLOWERS had a thorough understanding of the “gifting” market space, and saw great potential for synergy by offering multiple specialty brands. The company’s strategy was to grow in three ways: organic growth, internal business development, and strategic acquisitions. This led to an online marketplace that now offers more than 14 brands ranging from gift baskets to balloons.
1-800-FLOWERS has a diverse portfolio, but with that expansion came a new business challenge. To fully realize the benefits of its multibrand strategy, the company needed strong unification behind the scenes. However, each new acquisition brought a different set of business processes and technology, resulting in a large number of siloed operations that were difficult to integrate.
Planning with the Future in Mind
The company chose IBM MQ, recognizing the flexible and efficient way in which it functions behind the scenes. Bozzo says, “This central engine supports as many customer-facing web stores as you like, and it’s easy to add new ones or roll out new features across brands.”
Bozzo emphasizes another important consideration in choosing IBM. “Because of the uncertainty we’re seeing in the macro economy these days, making it easier to make the investment was a key decision driver for us. IBM was able to give us what we needed in that area.”
The platform, running on IBM Power Systems(TM) hardware, needed to integrate seamlessly with the company’s existing systems. The 1-800-FLOWERS platform remained in place, and most of the other brands were migrated to the new MQ commerce-based platform. During the transition, everything needed to function transparently. To accomplish this, the company chose a service-oriented architecture solution that included IBM Integration Bus and IBM MQ, which form an enterprise service bus that ties the new and existing systems together.
Increasing Revenue While Decreasing Risk
The implementation of these products was a critical first step. The benefits of shared services trickle down through the organization over time and enable new ways of going to market. “Tearing the walls down will enable us to go to market more effectively. We’ll have a lot more shared information about buying patterns and customer profiles, and that will allow us to cross-sell much better,” says Bozzo. “Also, we’ll be able to try new ideas with little risk. With the new platform, we can launch an entirely new brand fairly easily, because all of the e-commerce technology is already there.”
The most significant impact of the platform, however, will be in the competitiveness it brings to 1-800-FLOWERS by allowing the company to leverage best practices across the entire business. “The platform will enable the individual brands to do things they would never have been able to cost-justify before,” Bozzo says. “It’s going to give us unprecedented agility. We’ll be able to re-merchandise our Web stores on the fly in response to competitive offers. That will make us much more relevant to the customer, which is critical. Customer expectations continue to ratchet up, and this new platform is positioning us to meet them going forward. We’ll have an immediacy and responsiveness that will give us a real competitive advantage.”
1-800-FLOWERS is the world’s largest florist and gift shop, with revenues approaching US$1 billion. The company is marked by its large-scale vision and forward thinking, positioning itself at the leading edge of trends with innovative marketing such as “green” initiatives that reward responsible consumer behavior. It is based in Carle Place, New York, United States.